(3) Louis Pasteur vs. (6) Walt Disney

Tournament of Genius

(3) Louis Pasteur

Pasteur was microbiology's one-man wrecking crew. His experiments proved once and for all that microbes cause fermentation and disease, but he didn't content himself with settling that debate. Pasteur then set about killing off these microorganisms and came up with early vaccines for rabies and anthrax, in addition to coming up with the idea of heating beer, wine, and milk to an elevated temperature to kill off microbial baddies, a process you know as pasteurization. The next time you enjoy a bowl of cereal or a cold beer, raise a glass to Pasteur.

(6) Walt Disney

Disney turned an animated steamboat-driving mouse into an industry that completely legitimized cartoons and gave him a massive fortune. In 1955, he used some of his massive bank balance and his beloved characters to design and build Disneyland, which he later paired with a sister park in Orlando to help cement the theme park's place in American life.

The Breakdown

These two have more in common that you might think. Both had a total wizardry with tiny life forms (children and microbes), and neither was cryonically frozen after his death. Okay, maybe that's not all that much in common. Pasteur, though, definitively proved that microorganisms don't multiply by spontaneous generation, while Disney created characters that seemingly spontaneously generate their own new revenue streams. Who's the bigger genius, though? Have a glass of milk, watch a Mickey Mouse cartoon, and make your pick.


[See the whole bracket here.]